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Klobuchar: Bipartisan Comprehensive Veterans Employment Bill

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 5:35 am

(Washington, D.C.) –Today U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), veterans, and veterans service organizations to unveil the Veterans Employment Act of 2010. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate today, is the first legislation to take a comprehensive approach to addressing skyrocketing veterans’ unemployment rates. The bill includes a series of proposals that improve training, skills transition, education, and small business assistance programs.

“When our soldiers sign up for service, there isn’t a waiting line and there shouldn’t be a waiting line when they come home and need a job,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “Our troops have valuable skills and we need to help them transition their skills and experience into the workforce.”

The legislation includes two bills previously introduced by Senator Klobuchar: the Veterans-to-Paramedics Transition Act and the Post-9/11 Veterans’ Job Training Act.  The Veterans-to-Paramedics Transition Act would allow paramedic training received by veterans during their service to count towards civilian paramedic training programs.  The Post-9/11 Veterans’ Job Training Act would expand the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to include opportunities for veterans to pursue job training and apprenticeship programs in addition to academic education programs.

“In far too many instances our veterans have come back home and had their resume lost in the stack,” said Senator Murray. “These are disciplined, dedicated individuals who will be great employees but who need help translating their skills into civilian careers. We can’t continue to pat them on their back for their service and then push them out into the job market alone. This is the first comprehensive bill to help veterans go from the battlefield to the working world.”

“After the initial excitement of coming home is gone, the reality of the challenges they face sets in. They need to know their government is there for them,” said Senator Begich. “They’ve asked for help with employment, help with opening a small business, and help with using their training in the private sector. This comprehensive legislation will address the unique needs of our veterans who have been struggling to find work and to keep their jobs.”

“The legislation fills a critical need,” said Senator Murkowski. “Our veterans leave military service with exceptional leadership skills and valuable life lessons. Yet  it is not evident that employers fully appreciate all that our veterans can bring to their workplace. This bill will help our veterans gain the additional skills they need to participate in Alaska’s oil and gas industry. It will provide them the opportunity to start their own businesses, if they choose to. And it encourages employers at all levels to recognize that those who’ve given much in the service of their country have much to offer to a prospective employer.”

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